- 09 Nov 22
"Abortion is a winning issue. Voters want people to have bodily autonomy and agency over their lives. That is pretty core to being an American."
Just a few months after the Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, five US states are voting on abortion related proposals in the Midterm Elections. These states are Kentucky, Montana, Vermont, Michigan, and California; all of which are voting on different abortion related propositions. This year sees the highest number of ballot initiatives held on abortion in a single US election.
Kentucky is surprisingly leaning pro-choice, although it has yet to be officially called. The proposed State Constitutional Amendment would state there is no right to abortion or requirement to fund abortion. With 86% of the votes in, 52.5% voted 'No' (as of Wednesday afternoon). Current Kentucky legislation almost entirely prohibits abortion- a pro-choice result in the referendum would not reverse this.
"Abortion is a winning issue. Voters want people to have bodily autonomy and agency over their lives. That is pretty core to being an American," said Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst with the pro-choice research group the Guttmacher Institute.
BREAKING: Kentucky voters have rejected an anti-abortion amendment in a massive victory for abortion rights. The message is clear: The majority of voters don’t want politicians deciding personal medical decisions for them. pic.twitter.com/V6zdTSxxdf
— Planned Parenthood Action (@PPact) November 9, 2022
Montana is another close call, voting on born-alive infants regulation. The referendum would enact a law that makes any infant "born alive" at any gestational age a legal person. This would criminalise health care providers who do not comply with the law. This act already exists as a federal law by the US Congress passed in 2002. Although, more than 700 Montana healthcare providers signed a letter opposing the ballot measure, stating that it would do more harm than good for infants that are born alive but will not survive. "Resuscitative measures are painful, they’re invasive, they prevent bonding, they prevent time with the mother and baby, they prevent religious ceremonies, they prevent a lot of things that parents need to move in the next steps of grieving and healing from infant loss," said Dr. Alison Rentz, pediatrician and neonatologist at St. Vincent Healthcare. The polls currently lie at 52.6% saying 'No', with 80% of votes in.
Vermont turned out pro-choice by a landslide, with 77.4% voting 'Yes' to creating a constitutional right to personal reproductive autonomy. Abortion is currently legal at all stages of pregnancy in Vermont. Now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade, the state wants to ensure abortion access will be codified in the state constitution and protected long term, according to the ballot campaign manager Sam Donnelly.
Similarly to Vermont, Michigan voted 56% 'Yes' to create a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, including the "right to make and carry out all decisions about pregnancy." This measure will put an end to a 1931 ban on abortion, which has already been blocked by Michigan courts.
Governor of Michigan Gretchen Whitmer Tweeted, "My lawsuit is the only reason abortion is legal in Michigan right now. Otherwise, Michigan's dangerous 1931 abortion ban would be in effect." The governor who just won re-election asked the Michigan Supreme Court to strike down the 1931 law back in June.
My lawsuit is the only reason abortion is legal in Michigan right now. Otherwise, Michigan's dangerous 1931 abortion ban would be in effect — blocking access to care for millions of Michiganders.
I will keep fighting like hell to protect our fundamental rights.
— Gretchen Whitmer (@gretchenwhitmer) November 7, 2022
California also voted to amend the state constitution to protect reproductive freedom as a right to privacy. Only 41% of votes are in, but 65.1% of voters said 'Yes' to the amendment. Following the Roe v. Wade ruling, California policymakers said they would propose an amendment "so that there is no doubt as to the right to abortion in this state."